Senior Messenger, November, 1975
Personal note: "This is my sharecroppers garden for the seniors This is where (sic) sold vegetables & the picture for Sunset Magazine was taken. It helped Vancouver Parks and Recreation (November) to receive the award for 1st place in the Nation..
Up north past Dollars Corner and across the Daybreak Bridge, a small group of Vancouverís senior citizens work a big vegetable garden several misty mornings a week.
KITTY HAM DISPLAYS the abundance of the Senior Sharecroppers garden.
Vancouver's community garden program, which was inspired by the hard work and vision of a intrepid little lady farmer and a band of senior citizen's, will get special mention in Sunset magazine this month.
The community garden program, which slowly grew to encompass the entire city out of a project begun year's ago by Kitty Ham, has been selected as one of the best organized in the West.
In a report to the Vancouver City Council last month, parks and recreation officials heralded the hard-working volunteers who developed and ran the project.
The whole concept of a community garden in Vancouver began years ago when Kitty Ham began a small project for a few elderly ladies on her farm. The elderly ladies were bused out weekly to the Ham farm by Mary Baran, Senior Achievement Coordinant.
Mrs. Ham worked with those older women and watched them bloom in the sunshine beside the flowers and vegetables they tended. She saw them work the soil and rejoice in their success. Mrs. Ham realized then the potential of a simple garden, not only in extra vegetables, but also in fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
Mrs. Ham didn't rest until her inspiration became a reality: a senior citizen garden established in Vancouver on unused public land. A garden easily accessible to the seniors who enjoyed growing their own vegetables.
It wasn't any simple job, although the idea was practical and worthwhile. She struggled with red tape and regulations, she solicited donations and hunted down seed and tools. Not only did she get that first garden started, but she stayed with it. She was there to help stake and string the garden in the spring. She was just a phone call away from anyone who needed advice on what to plant and how to water.
Throughout the early spring her patient husband stepped carefully through the bathroom over flats of sprouting cabbages, lettuce, and brussels sprouts. When the seniors were ready to plant, Mrs. Ham was there with growing plants to give them a head start towards harvest time.
In 1975, there were six garden plots throughout the city serving 300 families. They might never have come about if Mrs. Ham had not pushed the senior sharecroppers garden through and proved it could be successful with 10-foot high corn and giant squash.
The seniors raised vegetables in sufficient abundance to help out the senior nutrition project and still have surplus to sell. Money raised from the senior garden stand last year purchased irrigation equipment and fencing.